Thursday, March 3, 2011

March for Babies!

March for Babies… What it means to me

The March of Dimes is gearing up for its biggest fundraiser, which raises money for research, education, advocacy and to support families who have to spend those traumatic first few weeks or even months of their baby's life in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The March for Babies walk is very personal to my family. Greyson was born weighing a mere 1 pound 10 ounces and he was on the edge of viability. We spent 102 days in the NICU and every one of those days was difficult. The first few weeks were the most painful. I watched a precious innocent baby boy fight for his life because my body failed him. I suffered from HELLP syndrome @ 24 weeks and managed to carry Grey for another week – delivering him 15 weeks too soon. Essentially my body was shutting down and in order to save my life – Greyson was delivered. Going back to that time isn’t a memory I revisit often. I kept a journal during this difficult time and today I choose not to read Grey’s journal. Sometimes I’ll be looking for something in his closet and glimpse the green of his journal sitting on a shelf. I’m not interested in reading my responses to the heartache of having an extremely premature baby. However, I am fortunate for our Nurse who gave us the journal and encouraged me to document our journey. I will read the journal again and share it with Greyson – he’ll then understand why we call him precious all the time – his life was considered valuable from the beginning and we fought for every hour along with the support our health care team at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. It’s been 2 years and some may assume that we are only stronger. However, there are many times that I definitely feel weaker. The further we move from those memories the safer I feel and subsequently the memories become more frightening to revisit. How did we get here? When exactly did Grey’s medical path take a drastic turn for the better? The medical path for a micropreemie is often unknown. I truly believe we were blessed to have taken the road less traveled- the road to a successful healthy life with no long standing complications. Greyson is a miracle.

So this is why I am passionate about March of Dimes. Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, including learning disabilities, cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities. Babies shouldn’t have to fight for their lives. Their hardest days should not be their first days. The March of Dimes is making it a mission to provide research and support to the families of babies born too soon. The March of Dimes supports research aimed at preventing premature birth, birth defects, and infant mortality.

If you feel compelled to save the lives of babies then please make a donation today. Skip the Starbucks Latte this morning and donate $5 to March for Babies!

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